Ring, ring…no it’s not Liam Neeson calling. It’s reality; and it’s calling to ask you if you’re really sure about sitting through a sequel that never should have been made. If it was Liam Neeson calling, he’d probably tell you, “Something about grenades…blah blah…guns…blah blah…face punches…
your brains taken.” ”Blah blah” might be a direct quote from the film…I’m not really sure. Most of the repetitive and cheesy dialogue ended up sounding like “blah blah,” so I just assumed it was actually “blah blah.”
“Taken 2″ is twice as ridiculous as the surprise hit “Taken.” Yes, there’s more punching, more car chases and more serious phone calls, but did we really need more? “Taken 2″ doesn’t really try to find its own story and just rehashes ideas and themes from the first film. “Taken 2″ is the definition of an unnecessary sequel.
“Taken 2″ starts off just like the first film – we get a glimpse of the “ordinary” life of Bryan Mills (Neeson), his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), and his recently separated ex-wife , Lenore (Famke Janssen). The big drama in ordinary-ville? Kim has a new boyfriend and she still doesn’t have her license! Suspense! You can bet that parallel parking will be a bigger issue for Kim as the film goes on and bullets start whizzing by.
Neeson Mills reminds the audience what a BAMF he is by tracking down Kim’s boyfriend and counting to ten, the film then progresses to taking the family abroad to vacation in Istanbul. You would think that after the dramatic experience in the first film (that we’re constantly reminded they’re still trying to get over emotionally), traveling abroad would be the last thing any of these people would want to do and yet here they are in Turkey and the teenager already has a suggestion on how to get away from her parents’ supervision. Once separated from her parents, the film then unfurls much like “Taken,” but this time, the baddies get a hold of the parents and daughter, Kim, must hear another phone call speech from her father about “being taken” before being the one to track down her parents. If you couldn’t guess, the rest of the film just ends up being a few car chases and fist fights before (spoiler) a happily ever after ending.
The problem with this film is that it tries too hard to do what’s already been done and in doing so, comes off as laughably bad. It tries to make Neeson seem even more of a badass by showing off the methods to his brilliant tracking, but in showing, the awesomeness wears thin. “One, two, three, birds, four, five, six, boat,” Mills counts off as the baddies drive him blindfolded through Istanbul. Mills’ idea of tracking blindfolded is to use “birds” as a mile marker? There’s only one intersection that could have birds? That’s a terrible mile marker. Then there’s the terrible car chase (though I did like the end of the chase) with Kim and Bryan’s back and forth dialogue. “Dad, I have to stop.” “Drive faster.” “I can’t.” “Drive faster.” “I can’t.” etc. Or there’s also the hilariously precise instructions he gives, Kim, on how to find his location. “I want you to grab two grenades and one gun out of my briefcase with hundreds of weapons. Now run east.” Whaaat? And why not two guns — one for him and one for Kim? Mills becomes less cool in this film simply by being over-explained.
And nothing was worse in this film than the bumbling baddies. The revenge speeches were laid on a bit thick, the baddies were worse at shooting targets than a stormtrooper and then the supposedly physically elite fighter the baddies had? He was a beer-bellied dude in a track suit. Hey, filmmakers, just because you put somebody in an exercise outfit does not trick us into thinking the person is actually a weight lifter. Try a little harder.
Of course, I didn’t really go into this movie expecting a masterpiece. I think everyone was surprised that “Taken” was as enjoyable as it was, but this sequel was completely unnecessary. It was laughably bad, but not so laughably bad as to become a cult classic. But it delivers its “Liam Neeson punches things” quota, so if that’s all you need, then by all means, see this film. Otherwise, check out one of the more thrilling action films at the box office this weekend.